COUGARS chairman Gary Fawcett insists the Rugby Football League have no choice but to impose the appropriate sanctions on Batley and Doncaster after they charged them with fielding ineligible players.
The clubs are in the dock due to breaches of the RFL’s dual-registration regulation which states that any player with a salary cap value of £20,000 or more must have played in three league fixtures for a loan club before July 25 in order to play for them after that date.
And it has been declared by the RFL that Jacob Fairbank (Huddersfield and Batley) and Ben Crooks (Hull and Doncaster) had not met the criteria before playing for the accused Championship clubs on Sunday July 27 against Sheffield and Cougars respectively.
Dewsbury announced this week they had no case to answer after fielding Bulls star Sam Wood on dual reg but Batley and Doncaster will have their cases heard by an independent tribunal on Thursday, with the RFL saying a guilty verdict could face a fine and/or points deductions.
Fawcett said: “The rules state that punishment should be a fine and/or a points deduction.
“From my perspective, I don’t think the RFL have much choice because on the basis that you have won a game when playing an ineligible player then those points would have to be deducted because they have not stuck to the rules.
“Batley won that game when Fairbank was allegedly ineligible (28-18 at Sheffield Eagles), so you would expect them to get a three-point deduction.
“To be fair, it’s not a complicated investigation. It’s a case of the RFL saying ‘was that player eligible?’ “No, he wasn’t, therefore there has been a breach of the rules.
“I think the process will be to decide what kind of sanction is going to be applied.
“The rules are the rules and I know the RFL will apply the appropriate sanctions based on what they find in the investigation.”
Cougars have shied away from taking Super League players on dual-registration but they did have an informal agreement with Castleford last season.
Fawcett added: “Charlie Martin played a few times for us but we didn’t really like sticking people in for just one game.”
Cougars are well placed to beat the drop and head to relegated Barrow on Sunday after two successive wins.
James Craven will be assessed after injury but player-coach Paul March has no other major concerns.
Meanwhile, Cougars prop Ross Peltier has joined Hunslet Hawks on loan until the end of the season along with Leeds Rhinos utility player Luke Briscoe.
Peltier has made 11 appearances this season for the Cougars, scoring two tries in the Kingstone Press Championship.
Hawks director of rugby Darren Williams said: “We were looking to add some size to the squad for the run-in and Ross certainly has that, his go forward is tremendous and he will be a superb addition as we get to the business end of the season.”
Both players will be in contention for selection for Sunday’s trip to Hemel Stags in Championship One.
It is believed that Sheffield Eagles are also being investigated over a possible breach of dual-registration rules over a player they fielded against Batley on July 27.